Letter from Celeste

Dear Allison

On 27 February 2010 our dearest miniature Maltese poodle, Roxy, passed away at the age of 19 years and six months (see pics numbered Pet 1 to Pet 3 of her). She made our lives fun and we were completely heartbroken to see her suffer and having to be euthanised in the end. We swore that we would never have another dog, not ever. As the days passed, I just couldn’t stop crying. Being a freelancer I work from home and Roxy was always by my side to keep me company. Eventually I became very depressed, but flatly refused to get another dog. I just couldn’t do it.

Then in May 2010 my path crossed that of Candy Ristic via a group called Compassion in World Farming. Candy is the founder of “Chicken as pets not food – Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation”. (They also have a Facebook page.) This organisation rescues and rehabilitates ex battery hens and aims to raise awareness around the cruelty of factory farming. To make a long story short, I picked up our two battered battery hens from Candy on 2 May 2010 and brought them home to our chicken h(e)aven here in Florauna, Pretoria (Pet 4 to 7).

Gin (Pet 5) and Tonic (Pet 6), as we named them, were extremely traumatised and nearly died of shock when they first heard the neighbour’s dog bark. We put them up in a cardboard box in our bathroom for the first two nights while we had a wooden house built especially for them (pic Pet 8).

They soon became very happy “duracell divas” who love taking chances to join us indoors (see Pet 9 and 11). We love them very much and I LOVE picking them up and carrying them around (Pic 10) – mainly to inspect the regrowth of feathers lost in their cramped living conditions at the battery farm – but secretly to cuddle and kiss …

They adore spending time with us and when we sit outside, they immediately run up to us (and our guests) to demand their little bite or drink 😉 (see pics Pet 12 and 13).

Gin and Tonic are pure joy to watch and have given me back my own personal joy: And for that, I will alway love them.

Our entering this competition is also to create awareness regarding the horrible conditions at battery farms. Please read more about Candy Ristic’s organisation at chickenrescueandrehabilitation.wordpress.com.

On 12 July 2010, Candy wrote: “Compassion in World Farming (SA) – By 2012, battery cages for egg laying hens will be banned throughout Europe, and in the US, hens in California and states that supply to California will get more room to spread their wings by 2015 (see article). When will SA follow suit?”

Thank you for this opportunity to share our story.

Warm regards Celesté Fritze and Lucille Weyer

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